TIME Crime

Life Sentence for Man Charged With Murdering Parents Then Throwing Party in Their House

Parents Killed Party
This photo provided by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's office on Monday, July 18, 2011, shows Tyler Hadley, then 17, of Port St. Lucie, Fla. St. Lucie County Sheriffs Office—AP

Tyler Hadley allegedly killed his parents Mary Jo and Blake Hadley in July 2011 when he was 17, and then invited about 60 friends over to their Florida home for a party while his parents lay dead in their bedroom

A judge sentenced a Florida man charged with killing his parents before hosting a party at their house to life in prison without possibility of parole Thursday.

Judge Robert R. Makemson technically ordered two life sentences for Tyler Hadley and said the killings were brutal, heinous and premeditated, the Associated Press reports.

Hadley allegedly killed his parents Mary Jo and Blake Hadley in July 2011 when he was 17-years-old. He then invited about 60 friends over to their Fort Pierce home for a party, while his parents lay dead in their bedroom.

Police said Hadley told a friend about the killings the night of the party and then showed his friend the bodies. The friend notified police and Hadley was arrested the next day.

Evidence suggests Hadley may have mental problems, but the judge determined he lied about hearing voices. His brother Ryan Hadley called him a “pathological liar.”

Hadley pleaded no contest to the first-degree murder charges in February.

[AP]

TIME

Colorado Pot Revenue May Disappoint

Recreational Marijuana Sales in Colorado
Kristin Brinckerhoff ponders the selection of marijuana at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, CO January 02, 2014. Craig F. Walker—Denver Post/Getty Images

A new analysis determined that retail marijuana will bring the state less than half of what the governor's office estimated in February. But any of these estimates could still prove closest to the actual amount that recreational marijuana will be worth to the state

The Colorado Legislative Council, the nonpartisan research arm of the state legislature, has weighed in with its own estimate of how much legalizing retail marijuana will be worth: about $57 million in extra tax revenue. That’s less than half of what Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office estimated last month, and nearly $10 million less than voters were told they should expect each fiscal year before legalizing the substance in 2012.

But any of these estimates could still prove closest to the actual amount that recreational marijuana will be worth to the state. Right now, projections are being made based on one month’s worth of data, when a single data point—like whether one assumes there will be more pot tourists in the future or whether legalizing marijuana will yield new users—significantly changes the end result.

The $57 million figure (which becomes about $65 million when the 2.9% sales tax already established by medical marijuana regulations is factored in) was arrived at assuming that all medical marijuana users will continue to buy weed at medical dispensaries, for example, which pay fewer taxes to the state. Economists also assumed that people would buy marijuana at rates they self-reported, and people often don’t fess up to illicit drug use when surveyed. And economists guessed that visitors who buy pot would spend only $20 on it, the equivalent of about a gram.

New revenue figures for February, being reported now to Colorado officials, will double the amount of data economists have to work with and should help shed more light on which estimate makes the best assumptions. Regardless, the amount will be new revenue, though different stakeholders in the Rocky Mountain State are long going to disagree about how the overall profits and costs of this social experiment balance out.

TIME Crime

IRS Phone Scam Is The Largest Ever

Thousands of people have lost more than $1 million to scammers who threatened them with arrest, deportation and the loss of business or driver's licenses if they did not make payments through credit cards or wire transfers

A government watchdog says that fake IRS agents have targeted more than 20,000 people in the largest phone scam in the history of the U.S.

Thousands of victims have lost over $1 million to fake IRS agents claiming that people owe more taxes, according to the IRS inspector general. The scammers call up taxpayers demanding that they make payments through prepaid credit cards or wire transfer, threatening arrest, deportation, and loss of business or driver’s licenses if those they scam do not comply.

IRS inspector general J. Russell George says people have been targeted in almost every state, according to the Associated Press.

[AP]

TIME obituary

The House That Fred Built: Exclusive Photos of Fred Phelps and the People He Left Behind

Fred Phelps Sr., the founder of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church most widely known for picketing U.S. military funerals, died at the age of 84, Thursday, March 20. Photographer Anthony S. Karen captured these behind-the-scenes images of Phelps, his family and his church between 2008-2011, giving a remarkable inside look at the secretive and oft-despised group.

TIME

Gallup: Houston Has the Country’s Best Job Environment

A new Gallup Economy survey of job environments in the U.S. top 50 metropolitan areas finds that businesses are overall hiring more people than they are firing. Here are the five best—and worst—locations to work

Houston has the best job environment of any of the top 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to a survey released Thursday by Gallup Economy.

The report found that businesses in cities across America are hiring more than they are firing, the latest marker that companies are recovering from the recession. The national unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 6.6% in January, before ticking up slightly amid the winter chill in February.

Cities in the South demonstrated the healthiest job environments, with Texas claiming three of the top ten cites: Houston, San Antonio and Austin. Charlotte, North Carolina, saw the greatest improvement from Gallup’s 2011 report, followed by Houston.

On the bottom end, California and the Northeast were most represented. The ten cities with the bleakest job environments comprised four cities in California, including fiftieth-ranked San Diego, but even in those cities more respondents said their company was hiring than firing.

The New York metropolitan area, the largest in the country, ranked No. 49 on the list of fifty cities.

Here are the metropolitan areas with the top five job environments:

  1. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas
  2. Columbus, Ohio
  3. Salt Lake City, Utah
  4. Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.
  5. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.

And the bottom five:

  1. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade—Roseville, Calif.
  2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontariao, Calif.
  3. Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, R.I.-Mass.
  4. New York-North New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.
  5. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.

The survey asked at least 1,000 people in each city if their company or employer was adding jobs or letting people go. See the poll here.

TIME Military

Ex-Navy Footballer Acquitted of Sexual Assault

Midshipman Joshua Tate.
Midshipman Joshua Tate. U.S. Naval Academy/AP

A Marine judge ruled Thursday that a former Naval Academy football player did not sexually assault a female classmate. The decision highlights the difficulty at proving guilt in military sex-assault cases where alcohol is involved

Drunk parties make for tough military sexual-assault cases. That’s the bottom line following a ruling Thursday by a Marine judge who found that a former Naval Academy football player did not sexually assault a female classmate at an alcohol-drenched off-campus party in Annapolis, Md., two years ago.

The defendant, Joshua Tate, of Nashville, didn’t react as Marine Colonel Daniel Daugherty announced his verdict before a crowded courtroom at the Washington Navy Yard. Tate was one of three former Navy football players charged with sexual assault, but he became the lone defendant after charges were dropped against the other two. That leaves the service 0-for-3 in prosecuting those charged in the high-profile case.

Like the case involving Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair which ended earlier Thursday with Jeffrey receiving no jail time for sexual offenses, the Navy’s case against Tate grew weaker as defense attorneys argued the alleged victim was a willing participant. The victim endured brutal questioning last fall during a pre-trail hearing that led to widespread criticism of how the military handles such cases.

Tate, who did not testify, faced up to 30 years imprisonment.

The court martial made clear that the accuser, in the words of one of her attorneys, “was unable to make [a] competent decision to have sex when Tate had sex with her” because she was intoxicated.

Alcohol is often an accomplice to sexual assaults in the military as it is elsewhere. An Army captain, sentenced to six years imprisonment for sexually assaulting a female officer in 2010, recently cited “Affirmative Defense: Voluntary Intoxication” as a reason he should not be found guilty (the Army Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed his appeal Feb. 28).

“In many situations, it becomes a ‘he-said, she-said’ case,” says Elspeth Ritchie, a retired Army colonel and psychiatrist who dealt with the issue during her 24 years in uniform. “He says consensual sex, she says it was forced, or that she was too drunk to consent. There is often little or no hard evidence to show what actually happened.”

Susan Burke, who represented the accuser, said “justice did not prevail” in her case. “Like so many survivors of sex crimes in the military, our client was twice victimized: first by her attacker and then by the failed investigation and prosecution of this case,” she said. “She is understandably disappointed today, but hopes legitimate reforms of the military justice system will occur because of her case and those of other survivors.”

TIME Saving & Spending

Spring Is Here! Too Bad You’re Still Paying for a Bitterly Cold, Costly Winter

Snow shovelers in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, D.C., on March 17, 2014.
Snow shovelers in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, D.C., on March 17, 2014. Jonathan Ernst—Reuters

This year's brutal winter wreaked havoc on roads, homes, and most likely, your finances. Here’s a look at a few of the groups that got hammered by the harsh weather, and that are likely to bear the costs of the season for quite some time

The brutal winter of 2013-2014 wreaked havoc on roads, homes, and most likely, your finances. It’s been a horrendously awful winter for many businesses as well.

There was reason for some to welcome the stormy, bitterly cold weather that descended on much of the nation in early 2014. Supermarkets thrived during the peak (nadir?) days of polar vortex frigidity as shoppers stocked up on staples in anticipation of waiting out the storms, and businesses selling plows and snowblowers understandably made a killing as the snow and ice piled up week after week.

Then there’s the rest of us, who will remember the winter that’s just passed as one chock full of tire-busting potholes, frozen pipes, roof collapses, and monster heating bills. Restaurants, retailers, car dealerships, delivery services, and other businesses have also suffered. Even some businesses that normally cash in when cold and snow arrive fared poorly because this winter brought just too much, well, winter. Travel Michigan noted that the ski and snowmobile business dipped in recent months because the weather has caused tourists cancel trips. Yes, people have been deciding it’s too cold and snowy to go … snowmobiling.

(MORE: Springtime Is Finally Here as the Vernal Equinox Arrives)

Here’s a look at a few of the groups that have gotten hammered by the winter of 2013-2014, and that are likely to bear the costs of the season for quite some time:

Drivers
By late January, it was clear that the winter was shaping up as an epically bad season for potholes. The mix of heavy precipitation with rapid freeze-thaw cycles has resulted in an inordinately large number of potholes on roads, and dangerous, tire-wrecking conditions have arrived much earlier than usual in the season. Drivers shouldn’t expect the pothole plague to disappear anytime soon, as local public works crews have been overwhelmed by requests to fix damaged roads. Cities like Des Moines, Iowa, have received more than 600 calls since December from citizens reporting potholes, for instance, while greater Indianapolis has fielded more than 10,000 pothole service requests this season.

Every day, it seems, there are more reports of potholes causing chaos for drivers—for instance, a huge pothole on I-75 in Detroit this week, which caused traffic to slow to a crawl as two lanes were closed so that crews could do a quick patch job. “It’s the worst we’ve seen it in decades,” a West Virginia DOT spokesman, speaking of this winter’s potholes and road conditions, told the MetroNews recently. “It’s unbelievable.”

Last fall, a transportation research group known as TRIP released a report on bumpy roads, indicating that during a normal year, drivers fork over the equivalent of $277 per year due to vehicle repairs, tire wear, and depreciation thanks to potholes and generally poor road conditions. This year, drivers should anticipating paying a lot more than that.

Homeowners
Unusually cold temperatures make for unusually high heating bills. This is especially the case for homes heated by propane, thanks in part to a propane shortage that hit several states early this year. Citing data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, USA Today reported last week that the average homeowner will pay 54% more this year for heating a home with propane. Homes in the Midwest heated by propane will see their bills soar the highest, from an average of $1,333 last year to $2,212 for this season. Homes heated with electricity, natural gas, or coal, meanwhile, are projected to face bills that are 5% to 10% higher than last year.

(MORE: Meet the Low-Key, Low-Cost Grocery Chain Being Called ‘Walmart’s Worst Nightmare’)

Beyond budget-busting heating bills, homeowners around the country have been hit with plenty of other costs related to the brutally cold winter. The list of headaches—and hefty expenses—includes a heaping share of frozen pipes, roof collapses, and ice dams. Oh, and soon, flooded basements are probably inevitable. As one insurance agent told the Detroit News, as spring arrives, “The warmer temperatures will exaggerate and accelerate the melt, and then we’re going to have basement issues.”

State and Local Governments
Around the nation, many towns have already exhausted the budgets they allocated to clearing and salting roads and fixing potholes. In many cases, local authorities have been forced to use emergency funds to keep roads open and safe. West Virginia, for instance, just announced it was increasing the spring pothole-patching budget to $30 million, up from $18 million.

In recent weeks, states have been scrambling to round up precious road salt to cope with storm after storm. Things were so bad in New Jersey that the transportation department warned the state might be forced to close down major roads—even interstates—because crews didn’t have enough salt. Inevitably, the combination of high demand and insufficient supply of salt led to soaring prices; in some cases, the cost of road salt rose by a factor of four. The Washington Times noted that some salt supply companies have seen shippings triple in recent months and net four-quarter earnings rise by as much as 94%.

Businesses
Abnormally cold weather has caused people to stay inside rather than go out and spend money. That’s the basic explanation used by car dealerships, fast food, and other business categories for months of underwhelming sales tallies. The list of businesses blaming Mother Nature for subpar earnings and sales reports also extends to the likes of Federal Express, which said all the storms resulted in it losing $125 million in profits last quarter, and Walmart, which pointed to snow and cold weather as a reason for slumping sales in January and early February.

(MORE: The Government Is a Hitman, and Uber, Tesla, and Airbnb Are in Its Crosshairs)

Speaking of the world’s largest retailer, Walmart just announced a huge lawn and garden sale that plays off homeowner desires to shake off winter. “Given the extreme winter many of our customers experienced, we know they are preparing to restore their gardens and outdoor living spaces,” Michelle Gloeckler, senior vice president of home, Walmart U.S., said via press release.

Of course, Walmart also helps the sale, featuring $1.97 bags of mulch, discounts on grills, mowers, and the like, will help the company recover from the brutal winter and kick off a big spring.

The bad news for consumer, homeowner, driver, and retailer alike may be that, despite what the calendar says, winter—meaning cold and snow—hasn’t necessarily disappeared. The latest extended forecasts from the National Weather Service, appropriately published in angry CAPS, offers the following predictions for the days and weeks ahead:

THE FCST REMAINS FAIRLY CONSISTENT FOR AN UNUSUALLY WINTRY PATTERN OVER THE CNTRL-ERN STATES DURING MOST OF THE PERIOD WITH A BROAD AREA OF TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES REACHING 10-25F BELOW NORMAL BEFORE MODERATING BY DAY 7 THU. AT SOME LOCATIONS EXPECTED TEMPS WOULD BE CLOSER TO MID-JANUARY NORMALS… THIS COLD AIR WILL SUPPORT A PERIOD OF WINTRY PCPN POTENTIAL FROM THE NRN/N-CNTRL PLAINS INTO THE MID ATLC/NORTHEAST.

TIME Uber

Woman Sues Uber After Driver Allegedly Fondled Her

An Uber app is seen on an iPhone in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Dec. 19, 2013.
An Uber app is seen on an iPhone in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Dec. 19, 2013. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

A Chicago plaintiff is reportedly seeking more than $50,000 in damages after she charged that one of the ride-sharing company's drivers made unwanted comments and groped her during a trip earlier this month

A Chicago woman has filed a lawsuit against Uber and one of its drivers alleging that the driver fondled and harassed her during a recent ride. The lawsuit, which is seeking at least $50,000 in damages, is the latest in a string of poor public relations incidents for the San Francisco-based ride-sharing company.

The complaint, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that an Uber driver began driving in the wrong direction during a March 8 trip. The lawsuit says the driver then asked the woman to move up to the front seat to help him navigate before making unwanted comments and groping her. He allegedly refused to let her out of the car until the woman threatened to call the police.

According to a statement emailed by Uber, the driver’s account was deactivated after the woman contacted the company.

[Chicago Sun-Times]

TIME Religion

Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Sr. Dead at 84

The Reverend Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, on Sept. 12, 2012.
The Reverend Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, on Sept. 12, 2012. Michael S. Williamson—Washington Post/Getty Images

Rev. Fred Phelps, Sr., notorious for arguing that the deaths of U.S. soldiers were punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality and abortion, died Thursday at 84. He was reportedly sick with an unknown illness

Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., the founder of the provocative Westboro Baptist Church, died Thursday at 84, the Associated Press reports.

Phelps’ daughter, Margie Phelps, confirmed he died early Thursday morning but did not provide a cause of death, according to the AP. A Westboro spokesman told the AP Sunday that Phelps had been moved to a care facility in Shawnee County, Kan.

The Westboro Baptist Church, which is primarily made up of Phelps’s extended family members, became notorious for holding protests outside U.S. soldiers’ funerals, claiming the deaths were punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

The demonstrations prompted a suite demanding compensation for the pain inflicted on grieving families. The Supreme Court ultimately rejected that suit, upholding the group’s right to picket funerals.

[AP]

TIME College Basketball

Watch the Game That Saved March Madness

Princeton’s near-upset of Georgetown in a 1989 first-round game made sure Cinderella would always get invited to the dance

On St. Patrick’s Day night, 1989, the top-seeded Georgetown Hoyas—the most dominant and polarizing college basketball team in America—faced the 16th-seeded Princeton Tigers in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Hoyas had just rolled through the powerful Big East. The Tigers barely won the lightly-regarded Ivy League. While watching that year’s selection show, many Princeton players had just one wish: please, don’t make us play Georgetown. First game on the board: Georgetown vs. Princeton, in Providence.

For the Princeton players, jitters soon turned into joy. For college basketball fans, March Madness would soon change, forever, for the better. A David vs. Goliath classic attracted what was then ESPN’s largest-ever audience for a college hoops game. The first two days of the opening round, which tip off today, have become a shared national ritual. And it might never have happened were it not for that one night, a quarter century ago, in Providence. Here’s the story of the game that saved March Madness.

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